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21:47 6th March 2013


With the Macclesfield pair of Nat Brown and Tony Diagne ineligible due to a clause in their loan deals, Scott Garner and Peter Gilbert - the latter back following suspension - both returned to the starting line-up for this Blue Square Bet Premier game against the Silkmen at the Moss Rose. New non-contract signing Todd Jordan, meanwhile, was named on the bench.

After a minute's applause in memory of Keith Alexander and Richard Butcher play got underway with Macclesfield kicking off.

It was an evenly-matched opening as both teams took their time to settle into proceedings, although a number of early free-kicks did nothing to aid the flow of things with neither keeper tested in the first quarter hour.

The first half chance came on 16 minutes with a poor John Paul Kissock effort going well over Paul Farman's bar from 25 yards out whilst a couple of minutes later Mo Fofana was denied by a fine Rhys Taylor save after the Frenchman was picked out by a quick Gilbert throw.

Shortly afterwards Kieran Murtagh was cautioned for a push in Alan Power's chest after the City skipper got in a tough, yet fair, challenge on Craig Braham-Barrett and the home fans were on their feet again a minute or so later when referee Jason Whiteley awarded the Imps a penalty.

The 22nd minute spot kick came after Power was bundled over in the box by Pablo Mills and once the official had waved away the protests, the City midfielder finished clinically past Taylor to edge the Imps in front.

Temperatures remained on the heated side and after a Kissock volley was saved by Farman, Andrew Boyce and Waide Fairhurst were both cautioned following a tussle midway inside the City half.

A long-range Murtagh effort the curled wide as the hosts pressed for a leveller before Kissock was bundled to the floor by the back-tracking Adam Smith. The resultant free-kick ended up with the Imps winning a goal-kick and as such easing the pressure.

A foul on Vadaine Oliver at the other end then saw the Imps win a free-kick in a dangerous position with Power's delivery leading to the first corner of the game but the flag-kick, taken again by Power, flew across a packed area when the slightest of deflections would have caused Taylor problems between the sticks.

Two minutes before the break a deflected Ryan Jackson effort led to Town's first corner but Oliver was back to head clear.

Three additional minutes was indicated by the Fourth Official and with these passing without further incident, the half came to a close with the Imps a goal to the good.

HT: Macclesfield 0 Imps 1

With no substitutions made during the break it was as you were as the Imps restarted things.

City got off to a dreadful start to the second as within the space of 90 seconds the hosts drew level with a goal gifted to them by Scott Garner; the centre-back needlessly nodding a tame Amari Morgan-Smith header over Farman who could do nothing but look on as the ball looped into the back of the net.

The goal brought the hosts to life with the Imps forced to defend a couple of corners; the second seeing Kissock go to ground easily under a Paul Turnbull challenge with referee Whiteley spotting nothing untoward.

Town remained on the offensive with Fairhurst firing wide before Farman was forced to go down low to his left to claim a skidding Jackson drive. The pressure eventually paid off when, in the 55th minute, Jackson sprinted down the right before crossing for Barnes-Homer who had the simple task of finishing past Farman from six yards out.

City's response saw Oliver slice a 20-yard effort wide of the mark whilst shortly after the hour mark Sheridan wasted a glorious chance to level matters when he headed a Gilbert cross over with only Taylor to beat.

Peter Winn for Morgan-Smith was the game's first change in the 67th minute whilst a minute later a deflected Braham-Barrett cross led to a Town corner which ended up seeing Thierry Audel head well wide.

Jamie Taylor replaced Sheridan five minutes later before a Gilbert cross was headed behind for a corner which was hurriedly cleared. John Paul Kissock then came off with Jack Mackreth taking his place as the changes continued.

With the game in its final quarter hour Fairhurst drilled an effort into the side netting from a narrowing angle. Craig Hobson was then thrown on for Paul Turnbull for the final nine minutes.

Time was quickly ticking away though with a foul on Oliver giving Power the chance to whip in a cross but this was headed cleer. As Macclesfield broke, Farman denied Winn with a fine block.

A City corner in the last minute was cleared by Audel and as the Fourth Official indicated that a minimum of three minutes were to be played Power was booked for persistent infringement. Fairhust then curled wide before Todd Jordan came on for Peter Gilbert.

The bodies were up as a Town stopper Taylor claimed a Smith centre whilst the final switch saw Andre Da Costa come on for Fairhurst. There was still time for Smith to volley over in the dying seconds when he had time to trap and snatch a point.

FT: Macclesfield 2 Imps 1

City: Paul Farman, Tom Miller, Andrew Boyce, Scott Garner, Peter Gilbert, Paul Turnbull, Mamadou Fofana, Adam Smith, Jake Sheridan, Alan Power, Vadaine Oliver.

subs: Todd Jordan (for Gilbert 90+3), Jamie Taylor (for Sheridan 72), Nicky Nicolau, Craig Hobson (for Turnbull 82), David Preece.

goals: Power (22 pen)

bookings: Boyce (26), Power (90+1)

Macclesfield: Rhys Taylor, Ryan Jackson, Thierry Audel, Pablo Mills, Craig Braham-Barrett, Sam Wedgbury, Keiran Murtagh, John Paul Kissock, Waide Fairhurst, Amari Morgan-Smith, Matthew Barnes-Homer.

subs: Dean McDonald, Andre Da Costa, Peter Winn (for Morgan-Smith 67), Jack Macreth (for Kissock 75).

goals: Garner (47 og), Barnes-Homer (55)

bookings: Murtagh (20), Fairhurst (26)

Referee: Jason Whiteley
Assistants: Joe Johnson & Michael Hanley
Fourth Official: Chris Isherwood

Attendance: 1,557 (106 City supporters)


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.